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Oba Akran: The legend who combined politics, tradition

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Oba Akran: The legend who combined politics, tradition

 

In Plato’s book, the Republic, he never hid his indignation for democracy as a form of Government. He described democracy as “a rule of the mob” arguing that democracy as a form of government is built around numbers rather than competence and integrity. Plato had advocated that Kings should take over the administrative affairs of the State.

That the Army should defend the territorial integrity of the State. Workers should provide the material needs of Society. Plato further urges that while Captains undergo trainings in navigation technology. Doctors undergo rigorous trainings in the field of medical sciences and so held that the “art of governance” not meant for everyone.

Plato, the Great Greek political philosopher made these controversial academic submissions in 347 BC and has remained “unresolved” in contemporary political spheres and in spite the successes of democracy as a form of government, it has left many society in both socio-political and economic crisis and many nations has plunged into wars as a result pointing to the fact that Plato’s position cannot be completely wished away or accepted outright.

To corroborate Plato’s position, an Italian philosopher, Aristotle also opined that; “no one undertakes a business he has not learnt, yet everyman considers himself adequately qualified to go into the meanest of all trades, the act of governance”.

When Badagry was discovered in 1473 AD by Portuguese slave merchant named Freeman Gomez (a.k.a. Freemingo) when there was no Lagos nor Nigeria. It was recorded that Badagry political evolution in Nigeria incredibly spanned over five centuries and remains a reference point in modern history.

A tedious account of the political evolution of Badagry in Lagos State started officially in 1863 after the endorsement of the Treaty that ceded Badagry to the British Government. The political control and administration of Badagry was transferred into the hands of British colonial administrators led by Mr. Thomas Tickel.

In 1910, however, Mr. M. C. Patridge the then District Commissioner of Badagry submitted a written recommendation to Governor Mc Gregor of the Colony of Lagos suggesting that he should approve the setting up of a minor council which should be true representative of the people but that recommendation was rebuffed until 1938 when there was light at the end of the tunnel towards the political re-organisation of Badagry by the colonial administration with the principle of representing local council as the driving force for local participation, integration and development.

This development thus triggered the political re-organisation of Badagry which actually begun in 1938 and up till Nigeria’s independence in 1960, there evolved gradual political system that seemed truly to be representative of natives.

The period described above witnessed an unprecedented evolution in the political life of Badagry as a single individual through his political activities made indelible mark in the political history of Badagry up till the era of Western Regional Government. That individual was Hon. (Prince) Claudius Dosa Akran who later became a first class Oba of Badagry. Born January 13, 1899.

Essentially those whose ideas, philosophy, virtues, beliefs and achievements outlive them are the greatest of “Legends” and they live perpetually in the hearts of their people. The political strides of Hon. Prince) C.D. Akran remains a reference point in the annals of contemporary political history of Nigeria.

In his eventful political career which he started as president or mayor of Egun-Awori Native Authority in 1948. While he held sway, he exhumed so much authority, dignity, respect, influence, transparency and accountability and thus set a standard for a successful political career for contemporary politicians of his time. He was again re-elected as member of parliament in 1951 into the Western Regional Government as an Independent candidate representing Badagry Federal Constituency which include the entire Badagry Division of today comprising Ojo, Amuwo, Apapa, Ajeromi Ifelodun and Badagry Local Government Areas.

This quintessential political leader cum monarch who was Minister of Finance and Local Government and later Minister of Economic Planning and Community Development under the Western Regional Government administration and finally got to the apogee of his political career when he became the Deputy Prime Minister to Chief Obafemi Awolowo who was then the Prime Minister of Western Regional Government.

Suffice to say, through his political powers and influence, this single individual single-handed opened up Badagry with the provisions of various social and economic facilities which he initiated and facilitated to Badagry, all still visible till date, they include:
a. The installation of Telephone and Telegraph Services in Badagry, first in Badagry Division of Lagos State.
b. Installation of Electricity in Badagry, first in Badagry Division
c. Construction of Badagry Magistrate Court, first in Badagry Division.
d. Badagry General Hospital also first in Badagry Division
e. First post office services in Badagry Division
f. Construction of Agbalata International Market.
g. Construction of Ikoga Market basically for local agricultural and poultry produce
h. Construction of the tarred Badagry-Ado-Odo-Ota Road linking Abeokuta, Lagos and Ibadan
i. Badagry Town Hall
j. Badagry Grammar School amongst others.

Hon. (Prince) C.D. Akran was later to be crowned when he ascended the throne of his forefathers as the Akran of Badagry Kingdom in 1948 and was accorded government recognition in August 18, 1950 and was able to combine politics with traditions. He was both a monarch and an accomplished senior government functionary who was very visible in the palace and very active in the Regional Government of Western Nigeria without any record of friction or crisis, a system that remains in practice till date in civilized countries of the world.

It may interest you to know that, after the glorious passage of this iconic monarch and quintessential political leader in 1971, a vacuum was created and till date his records remain unbeaten and unmatched in the entire political space of Badagry Division.

However, Chief Richard Akinjide (SAN), legal luminary and politician once said, “people desire the effects of good governance but do not desire the trouble associated with it. Saying the most powerful instrument in any modern society is political power and you cannot afford to surrender that to those who could not protect your interest or that of your people” Instructively, the Nigerian political space today is dominated by all comers who are neither closer to their people nor feel their pulse.

This ideology probably informed great minds like Oba C.D. Akran of Badagry and Oba Adesoji Aderemi, the Ooni of Ife to veered into politics while retaining their exalted stools as first class Kings.
Speaking with our correspondent, many political class and elites of the ancient town of Badagry slammed the “succession plan” of people like Oba C.D. Akran who left the stage with vacuum which still remains to be filled till date. No Badagrian has ever come close to this iconic monarch, political leader and top government functionary of his influence and exploits because he failed to make leaders out of his followers.

Another school of thoughts also blamed this on his liberal ideology. Ordinarily, he could have expanded his Kingdom and political constituencies to include other parts of Lagos and Ogun States and planted some of his followers as a prelude to his political control and even dominance but he limited himself by being a lone voice in the wilderness even through political apprenticeship was in vogue then under the Action Group (AG) during the Nigerian civil war, Oba C.D. Akran with his power and influence returned to his small town without anybody to continue where he had stopped.

According to a political science lecturer at LASU, also an indigene of Badagry who preferred anonymity said the death of Oba C.D. Akran dealt a heavy blow on his people and Kingdoms of Badagry. During his stint as minister of finance and economic planning and later as Deputy Prime Minister, his people were not considered or push forward for any key positions in his government while he held sway. A development he blamed on lack of succession plans in our political arrangement also known as “winner’s takes all” syndrome.

He argued that leadership building is a sustainable development in which we nurture political leaders from ward to local government to state and to national levels. Oba C.D. Akran actually gunned through these processes but decided to clap with one hand after reaching the apogee of his political struggle, an attitude that created vacuum when he was gone. He warned, this should serve as a lesson to those on saddles’ today or history may repeat itself. Continuity of political ideals should be elevated above one’s office or tenure, he advised.

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